Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Thursday denied the charge levelled by sacked party leader Naseemuddin Siddiqui that she demanded Rs 50 crore from him and said the recordings played by him were edited and she had only demanded fees collected through party membership.
Refuting allegations, Mayawati said, “I had given Naseemuddin Siddiqui responsibility to collect membership fees in western UP. People said they had given him the membership fees but he did not deposit the amount collected in party treasury.”
She also alleged that people from western UP had informed her that “he is a very big blackmailer.”
"Expelled BSP leader Naseemuddin Siddiqui is a big blackmailer and earns money through it...people have complained about it. And it has been proved right today," she said. Mayawati said she had received complaints about Siddiqui from party workers.
In a press conference called within hours of Siddiqui making the tapes public, Mayawati did not deny the authenticity of the call recordings but alleged that the tapes have been tampered with.
"One who can tape BSP national president's conversations cannot be called a devoted and loyal worker....But he will not be able to blackmail me as what I say in private is what I say in public," she said, adding that the portions played out before the press were edited as per Siddiqui’s liking and convenience.
She said the audio clippings were not played by Siddiqui in entirety and also rejected his allegation that Rs 50 crore had been demanded from him.
Mayawati claimed that when some workers were asked about the deposit of party's membership drive and they said the amount had been given to Siddiqui.
"I warned that if he cannot give proper account, he will have to pay it himself....I will not allow him to usurp party money which belongs to the poor and deprived through which we run the party...I do not want your property money...I simply want the account of poor peoples' money," she said.
Refuting his allegation that she had used derogatory language against Muslims, Mayawati said she cannot even repeat the word referred to.
"Muslims have faith in me that I cannot betray them...it is from the Muslims that we received maximum calls after his expulsion as he was not letting them progress in the party."
On Naseemuddin saying that his 8 year old daughter died while he was busy in Mayawati's election in Bilsi, the BSP supremo said this was it was for the first time she had heard of her.
He (Siddiqui) had always mentioned that he had only two sons, she said.
On Siddiqui's charge that BSP general secretary Satish Mishra was trying to weaken the party, Mayawati said there was no comparison between the two.
"When Mishra came to BSP, Naseemuddin was very perturbed...He (Mishra) is working with full devotion and gives me more respect than his real sisters...He has been with me through all my problems and has not taken a single paisa for the cases he contested for the party," she said.
Earlier, addressing a press conference Naseemuddin Siddiqui accused Mayawati and her brother of making illegal demands, including asking Rs 50 crore for the party.
A day after he was sacked from the BSP, Siddiqui also alleged that Mayawati had called Muslims "traitors".
Siddiqui said after the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress cobbled an alliance ahead of the February-March assembly elections, he told Mayawati the Muslims were drifting towards the alliance.
"An upset Mayawati called the Muslim community 'gaddar' (traitors)," the former Minister said.
Siddiqui alleged that "BSP is being knowingly weakened by Mayawati and Anand Kumar (her brother) as part of a conspiracy by Satish Mishra and company" "People are also of the view that since Mayawati has attained the height which she wanted to attain, she herself wants to end BSP so that no other person among the Dalit 'samaj' could reach this far," Siddiqui had claimed.
Siddiqui claimed that the BSP was totally under the grip of Mishra and company and that Mayawati was being blackmailed by them.
"I know her more than anyone else...if I give the proof against Mayawati, Anand and Mishra it will be a big 'tamasha'," he said.
However, Mayawati sought to demolish all his allegations.
She alleged that people had told her that Naseemuddin had taken money from business houses promising to do their work once BSP came to power in the state.
She also defended her brother Anand Kumar, about whom Siddiqui had said that a class IV employee of Noida Authority was today a man worth Rs 2,000 crore, asking if he was aware of Ambani's background.
Everyone can progress in life, Mayawati said. "BSP workers say ever since I made my younger brother vice president, he (Naseemuddin) was very perturbed as he used to claim he was number two in the party...I had to bring my brother in the party as we need honest people not selfish ones. It was out of compulsion that I had to bring him," she said.
Siddiqui had also alleged that Mayawati had a criminal gang who could set any leader's house on fire or even get someone murdered. He also alleged that all BSP MLAs had to pay Mayawati and even his wife, who was a BSP MLC, had given money to her.
He also claimed that during a meeting on April 19 Mayawati had tried to belittle Kanshi Ram by comparing party's showing in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab Assembly polls.
Trashing all allegations, Mayawati said she had been warned about Siddiqui by Kanshi Ram himself, who used to say that he might prove to be a hurdle for the BSP. Mayawati also rejected Siddiqui's claim that he has been with the movement since the past 34 years and said he had joined the BSP in 1990 after failing to win the election for Banda nagar palika chairman on his own.
Yesterday, BSP had expelled Siddiqui, its most prominent Muslim face, and his son from the party for carrying out "anti-party" activities.
The war of words gave the ruling BJP a chance to take potshots at the BSP chief, saying it was high time for Mayawati to quit politics.
"Mayawati does politics just for her own sake and has lust for money and nothing else. After today's expose, she should quit politics," BJP spokesman Chandra Mohan said.